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"One-sided skepticism is no skepticism at all." Featured

"When it comes to climate change, true skepticism is two-sided. One-sided skepticism is no skepticism at all." —Michael Mann.        

"I will call people who deny the science 'deniers.' I won't be deterred by the fact that they don't like the use of that term and no doubt that just endears me to them further. It's frustrating of course because a lot of us would like to get past this nonsensical debate and on to the real debate to be had about what to do."

 


notes:   A somewhat longer discussion of this quote is in a blog post with the same headline.

source:     Michael Mann quoted in Slate, "Battle Hardened by the Climate Wars: The author of the 'hockey stick' graph tells his story."

Rating
★★★★
2 votes
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Bite Details

Type
Submitted by
Tom Smerling
Created
2012-02-20
Com (3)
byTom Smerling

February 24, 2012

1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Deniers subject AGW to skepticism, but not their own position, which they are not often called upon to defend . So, their skepticism is selective and functions to maintain their existing beliefs, which they don't subject to any real scrutiny/counter-evidence. I like this phrase better than skepticism vs denial, but that's just me.-- Steve Reed (submitted by ClimateBites Forum "Suggestion Box")
byclimatechangecomedian

February 29, 2012

Great bite. Thanks also to Steve Reed (who I know from Climate Reality St. Louis for commenting on this bite). I prefer the term skeptic to denier also. However, the President of the St. Louis Skeptical Society does not like this term being used for those who refuse to accept climate change. At our most recent Climate Reality St. Louis meeting, someone suggested the word "cynic" instead for those who refuse to accept the evidence.
Owner's reply

"one-sided skeptic" is about the best I've seen so far. ( See the longer discussion in the blog post with the same headline.)

byMakan

May 17, 2012

I'm happy to use denier for a) organisations that foster doubt and misinformation, and b) people who show no capacity to respond to reasonable evidence.

It is important not to allow extremists to claim valid terms for their territory. Mann has given us a handy phrase for disallowing the vicious attack camp from claiming the term 'sceptic'. Even if they give themselves names like Galilleo!, we cannot have the conversation on THEIR terms.

Perhaps I see 'sceptic' as having an active component to it. It doesn't quite apply to the mass of people who are indifferent to the issue and not paying it much attention.

For those who are unsure, and not wallowing in the denier echo chamber, I'm inclined to think of them as 'doubters' rather than sceptics. But it's a fine point.

When I have a reasonable exchange with a new 'doubter' I would never use 'denier' because it is likely to shut down conversation. But for those who are 'rusted on' and in active denial, I'm happy to use the term.

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